Manager's Comments

May 20th After Accepting the Scotland Manager's Job: "It has truly been an honour and privilege to work for Kilmarnock and I will always treasure the moments and memories created here. I am extremely proud of all our achievement during my time in charge and I am especially pleased I was able to play a part in putting a smile on the back of supporters’ faces. "A manager is nothing without a group of talented players and staff, willing to work hard and listen to instructions so I would like to thank them for their support during my time at Rugby Park. I’d like to express my gratitude to the board for all their backing and ask them to support them as they continue to build this fantastic football club."

May 19th After His Final Match:  “I think it is an important day this, on the last day of the season, a record points total, the first time since 1966 we have finished in the top three. We have gone better than last season and while the manager seems to get the credit I couldn’t do anything without my staff.  Without the players, this football club doesn’t operate. Because these guys have been absolutely magnificent over the past 20 months. They have to do it on the pitch and they had to do it today because we wanted to finish third. We didn’t want Aberdeen to be third, we didn’t want to rely on Hibs doing something. We wanted to do it ourselves here, on our pitch. This is our pitch, this is Kilmarnock. We have the best owner I have ever come across in football (Billy Bowie). And remember, I worked for Mr Abramovich. But the most important thing in any football club in the world is the supporters. When I came here, we didn’t have so many. We had a disconnect between the support, the board, the players. There was no togetherness. I said when I came in that together we are stronger. In my time at Kilmarnock Football Club, I’m sorry I didn’t win you a trophy. I am telling you now, as I stand here in front of three stands of Kilmarnock supporters – bye, bye Rangers and next season I’m sure it will be bye, bye Celtic as well. This is Kilmarnock. This belong to you. This is the most important thing. I said no trophy but I take this – this is my trophy. Thank you.” - Match Report -

May 6th after Winning the PFA Manager of the Year Award: 2019: “To come back here was a slight risk for me. I’d had a good time at West Brom. I don’t care what anyone says, to take them to their highest points tally in the English Premier League is something I was proud of.  At Reading, I took them to an FA Cup semi-final for the second time in their history and over 75 years since they had been there. I didn’t get the chance to do a full season there, so I probably missed out on getting them their record points total. But coming up here, if I hadn’t done a good job at Kilmarnock, I would probably have been looking out the golf clubs and looking forward to many rounds. You have to be realistic. If this one hadn’t worked out, it may have been more difficult to get back in. Obviously, I could have got back as a coach, but I’m talking about a manager. As a manager, you have a shelf life. I had to choose the job carefully. If you’d told me in the first season we’d come off the bottom and into the top six with a record points total, I’d have doubted you a little bit as we certainly overachieved.  At the moment, it looks as though we are going to overachieve this season, which is great. I keep saying we have come a long way in a short space of time. To see the club top of the table in December was particularly satisfying.  I didn’t talk it up too much at the time because you know me, I try and downplay things as I don’t want to put too much pressure on to my players.  To be sitting third with two games to go and have Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs sitting behind us is a compliment to everyone at the club because we have all worked hard to make it happen.

“How far can we go? This is the million dollar question. What I would say is the cup competitions haven’t been particularly kind to us.

“Last year, we went out to a dodgy penalty against Aberdeen then lost on penalties. This season, we had Rangers in the Betfred Cup. We won our section as a seeded team and went into the second round unseeded. Somebody has to explain that one to me.  The Scottish Cup replay against Rangers has been well-documented. It was a night that went against us with dodgy decisions and ended up a spanking, but we learned from it.” Clarke has already admitted he could move on this summer — an announcement that left the Rugby Park support stunned. He admits he still has lots to consider in the weeks ahead but revealed being away from his family has been hard to deal with.  Would trying to win a cup sway my decision? That is a big part of the professional side of the argument that is going on in my head at the moment.  If we take Kilmarnock into Europe, it would be a big thing. To try next season and win a trophy for Kilmarnock would be a big thing. To try and get a third top-six finish would be a big thing. But people wiser than me in the footballing world always say you never know. One call and one good conversation with someone and suddenly you have another decision to make. I’ve been open with Billy Bowie from the start and try to be as open as possible with everyone in my life. It’s why I sometimes get myself into trouble. Sometimes I say things I should keep to myself, but it’s the way I am. It’s better to be honest with the fans and not to try to kid them on that I’ll be here forever when that may not be the case. I thought I had more chance last year when I first came up. New kid on the block. To be voted Manager of the Year by your fellow managers is always an honour because we have empathy for each other.  Maybe not always sympathy for each other, but empathy because we understand always the difficulties the job brings". 

May 4th on the Hearts Post-Match: "It's a great day and I'm delighted for the fans who can go home happy. Probably on a whole we just about shaded it. First half we certainly should have been in front at half time and we're a big bit disappointed not to be in front. In the second half the game changed when Ikpeazu got injured. That helped Hearts as they got more superiority in midfield and we showed different qualities second half.  As the game is running out we got the breakthrough. Findlay has a really good strike for a centre half. [Alex] Bruce should have scored but it doesn't matter who does as long as you get one more than the opposition and that's always our aim." - Match Recap -

April 27th on the Celtic Post-Match: "We played well but switched off on the second phase of a set play and it has cost us dear but performance wise - I thought the effort, attitude and discipline from the players was top class today and we deserved to take something from the game. He’s [Liam Millar] a good player. Sometimes you just feel the moment is right and you are watching them in training and thinking ok he’s ready to go and what a fantastic stage. He didn’t let himself or the team down. Alex Bruce has been waiting a long time to play. Obviously, his last game was at Ibrox when he got injured early on but I thought he and Gary Dicker, two different type of centre back than we normally have, controlled the game very well. It meant we had to play a slightly different way, quite expansive and that’s why I went with four attacking players and maybe to be critical of ourselves maybe with some more quality in the final third of the pitch we’d be going away with at least one if not three points." - Match Recap -

April 20th on the Dons Post-Match: "Since I've been here, he's (referee Steven McLean) always seemed to struggle with Kilmarnock games.  Maybe, or definitely, that's because his father was a player here for so many years. Whether he feels the pressure of that, it seems to affect his performance.  I have mentioned privately that maybe Steven shouldn't referee Kilmarnock games just to take that burden, that extra pressure, off him. Now I'm saying it publicly. I think it would be better for Steven as a referee and for Kilmarnock as club. Kirk Broadfoot made a genuine attempt to go for the ball," he said. "He went with no violence, no malice, it was a genuine attempt to play the ball. We'll appeal that one. Stuart Findlay was a second yellow. I've no problem with that. The Rory MacKenzie one, the referee didn't see. So I'm assuming the guy that was standing next to me (fourth official), 50 yards away from the incident, gave it. From where I was standing you couldn't see what happened. Maybe they have to explain that one as well. We'll definitely appeal Rory's.  Aberdeen came to do a specific job, They were looking to score off set-plays, they had a lot of big boys in their team and that's what they did. Congratulations to Aberdeen but that's the worst refereeing performance I've ever seen in my career. I told the referee after the game. I shook his hand and told him he was number one. It’s disappointing to lose, but circumstances went against us today and we have to try and pick up points elsewhere. The crowd are important, they were fantastic today. I’m disappointed we couldn’t put on a better performance for them. The opposition dug in and made it brutal to watch. The crowd were great and backed us all the way. I think they realised the effort the ten men were putting in - and then nine, then eight. I’m grateful for their support."  - Match Recap

April 6th on the Saints Post-Match: "It was a good afternoon and three good points. We were a little bit wasteful in the second half and should have had more goals but that's the only thing that I would have been disappointed with. It was a dominant performance from start to finish and a well-deserved three points.  We work on our defensive solidity, We've kept a lot of clean sheets throughout the season.  My back four and goalkeeper are all good players but we defend well as a team. I always believe that if you defend well you've got a great chance of winning games.

On Kris Boyd: "He's one of a number of players who have had to be patient this season. Earlier this season we had Greg Stewart and Eamonn Brophy doing good things. In January we brought Conor McAleny and Kris has had to be patient. Sometimes when you're a goalscorer and you're not getting the chance to play you lose that little rhythm, so it was nice to see him get on the scoresheet. He's a key part of what we do here, so it was really pleasing to see him get that goal."    - Match Recap

April 5th on His Future: "I feel unfulfilled in England. I think I’m a decent manager and a very good coach. I’ve still got a lot to offer some club who will maybe take a chance on me.  I’ve been very open with Kilmarnock fans since the day I came in. This isn’t a lifetime project. I came in to stabilise the club and push them forward but I’ve said all along that at some stage I want to go back to England. My children live there, my grandson is three years old and I miss him every day I’m up here. As I sit here now I’ve turned down three possible moves away, and I’ve always stayed at Kilmarnock. At some stage I will leave, and in the summer I’ll make a decision on my future, but I certainly won’t rule out staying here.”

April 3rd (Alex Dyer) on the Hibs Post-Match:  "It was a great performance from the lads.  They came here facing a good side in good form and we created a lot of chances and I’m sorry we didn’t come away with the three points.  Our final ball at times let us down. Obviously, Jordan had a good chance and Boydie right at the end but we’re happy to come away with a point on the road. They (Taylor as well as midfield duo Gary Dicker and Youssouf Mulumbu) worked hard and were very disciplined.  Two mature players who know and read the game well and they set the stall out for the rest of the team." - Match Recap -

Mar 30th (Alex Dyer) on the Accies Post-Match: Alex Dyer: “Absolutely outstanding today, I thought that ever single player was brilliant,From the boys that started to the subs that came on – every single player played their part. It’s a great result for the club and the boys. There have been plenty of memorable days since Steve Clarke arrived at Rugby Park, but Dyer reckons this was up there among the best – and spoke of his delight at the range of options the management team has.  It was probably the best all-round performance since we started at the club. The chances that fell our way, we took. Everything fell into place and we had some good luck today. It’s great to know we’ve got such a big range of options on the bench. It’s something that the gaffer says all the time and we saw that today. Even when they’re not starting – he reminds them that they’ve got a part to play. Just about every goal in todays clash was memorable in its own way – and Alex spoke of his delight for Greg Taylor, but wasn’t quite as sure whether Burke’s goal was legitimate or an own-goal!  You’d have to ask Burkey about that one,” he laughed. “As for Greg, we’re all delighted for him – he works so hard in training and always does his extras. It’s something he’s worked on, and we’ve been telling him to aim at someone or to look at shooting across the face of goal. I felt like all the goals were a team effort, working hard, some good passes and great goals. The boys have been working hard recently and haven’t been getting the results they deserve. Today was just our day, and now the lads can go away and enjoy themselves.” - Match Recap  -

Mar 16th on the Gers Post-Match:  "We were being no more than "competitive. (Stephen Gerrard had said "There could have been eight or nine yellow cards shown). The referee ran the game as he saw fit and, if there was going to be a red card, it would have been for Rangers. It would have been for the tackle by Goldson on Millar as he's going through on goal, a chance to get a shot away. But the ref chose to give yellow and we accept that." - Match Recap -

Mar 11th 2019 on the Buddies Post-Match:  “I thought when Eamonn Brophy hit the post it was going to be one of those nights, so it was nice to get the goal.
"We’ve been accustomed to winning over the last 17 months so it was good to end the drought.  Liam’s had to be patient. He’s a talent and he’s had to wait a long time to get the chance to show what he can do on the pitch. He didn’t get too long tonight but he’s shown good things in training. It was nice to get him on and we’re all delighted that he got his goal. It was a good three points and I think we deserved it on the night because we were the only team trying to win it during the second-half. “We pushed forward and were caught a couple of times on the counter, but Stuart Findlay defended two situations really well.” - Match Recap -

Mar 2nd (Alex Dyer) on the Well Post-Match: "Quite happy, two teams fighting hard battling. It was a good game, both had chances, two committed sides. A good point for us and a good point for them. - Match Recap -

Feb 23rd on the Livi Post-Match: "The game could have been a lot different, three times we hit the woodwork.  I've got nothing but praise for my players, they created chances and sometimes it's not your day. Unfortunately for us, it hasn't been our week. Where we are in the league is OK. We don't panic, we look to bounce back."  - Match Recap -

Feb 22nd on Sectarianism in Scotland: "Sad reflection on us as a society" and "everybody has to take some responsibility" for tackling it"  Clarke said he faced abuse from the "dark ages" in his side's Scottish Cup replay defeat to Rangers. Things can be done, Will [it] be done is probably much more difficult to address.  I've had so many messages from people in England saying 'I saw you on the telly, I hope you're OK. What was the reason?' They don't understand what we're talking about up here and that's a sad reflection on us as a society. Everybody has to take some responsibility and everybody has to try and work together to change. It won't change overnight but the fact it's back in the headlines, we're back talking about it, is sad in one way but positive in another way.  There's been advances but you still see instances, still occasions when it comes out.  At Kilmarnock, we are all inclusive. There are no divides. That's what we would like for every club in Scotland, for every part of this country but we don't have that at this moment in time. When I did the press [on Sunday], I didn't know Kris had been hit by a coin and I didn't know there had been chanting against him,  I spoke [on Wednesday] about the majority having to speak up and shout down the minority, so I think that's addressing it.  When I was a player - we're going back to 1984, '85, '86 - Rangers didn't sign Catholic players and when I was at St Mirren, there was an inquiry when Graeme Souness took over about me going to Rangers. I remember the [St Mirren] manager Alex Smith saying 'you couldn't do that, son'. And it wasn't because there was any racism or any sectarianism from Alex, he was just protecting me as a person.

Feb 20th on the Rangers Cup Replay Post-Match: "If the penalty had been given in the first two minutes it would have been different. The red card is a joke. It’s a joke. If that’s the standards we might as well go home. Why speak? It’s every week, every other week. Why?  You’ll probably write Morelos four goals but the officials decided the game. It’s embarrassing. The goalie just lifted his arms. Every goalie does it every week. It’s embarrassing. I’m talking in general. Bad decisions. All we talk about is our refs. How can I talk about football tonight? It doesn’t matter when it comes - a penalty is a penalty. Thirty seconds in or thirty seconds into injury time - it’s a pen so just give it."
On abuse from the Ibrox crowd: ... "It’s nice being back in the west of Scotland – really nice. When I was approached by Rangers about taking over the job here I was assured, nah, we didn’t have that in the west of Scotland anymore and it had gone. Hahaha. They can call me a b****** or w***** but to call me a Fenian b******? Come on.  We’re living in the dark ages. They’re not allowed to call my assistant a black b but they can call me a Fenian b******. Is that correct? What are we doing in Scotland. I wake up every morning and I thank Chelsea for taking me away from the West. My children have nothing to do this with this thankfully. My children and grandchildren. It’s fantastic to be back in Scotland."  - Match Recap -

Feb 17th on the Celtic Post-Match: "The first 15 minutes aside, I felt we were good. It’s a tough one for the players, they did so well and I felt they deserved at least a point,  It was a good performance, and I felt we didn’t deserve that at the end. Even with ten men, Celtic looked like they were struggling to score. It took a big deflection off Alex Bruce to get the goal. They started off well and had a few chances, but we grew into the match. We’ve got a couple of days to recover and we’re in a good place. The boys are disappointed not to get anything out of tonight, so bring on the next one, We’ll have Yossouf Mulumbu back, and there were good players on the bench who didn’t get on. Tonight’s disappointing but we’re just focusing on the next game. We’re a good team, and if we play like that week in, week out – we’ll be in a good place to go after our main objective: a top-six finish." - Match Recap -

Feb 9th on the Rangers (Cup) Post-Match: "It was pretty even, two good teams who went at it from the first minute until the last, fully committed. You can see that any time we come up against the big teams, we can give them a game. I think the first goal would have been crucial tonight, if we would have got that then it might have been a different story. 
On the prospect of the replay at Ibrox: "We don't go with any fear." And on the penalty award? "He (Kirk Broadfoot) didn't mean to handle it but he's fallen on the ball, so you can't have big complaints."  -Match Recap -

Feb 8th on the Rangers (Cup) Pre-Match: "It's two good teams and if it is as good as the last game here in terms of atmosphere, which obviously was a good day for us because we won the game. It will be a tough challenge for both teams, a competitive game and we look forward to it. It's always nice when you've had a recent victory against one of your top opponents. We didn't start the last game against Rangers particularly well and we allowed ourselves to go behind. We showed good character and resilience to get back into the game and eventually pulled off what for us was a good win and a good three points."

Feb 6th on the Dee Post-Match: “It was a fantastic game for the neutral to watch and you have to give Dundee credit for the way they played. You saw in the second half what Kilmarnock is all about, we were aggressive and moved the ball quickly.  At the end it was crazy from us, to be honest.  We had the right-back taking a throw in and lost our shape completely. I don’t know if we just got caught up in trying to win the game, but it was crazy.  Thankfully Daniel managed to save the penalty because if we’d gone away from here without a point it would have been an absolute travesty.” - Match Recap -

Feb 1st on the Tarts Post-Match: "I think we’ll play worse this year and win games. The two goals we lost were uncharacteristic, especially the first one. We didn’t cover the midfield well enough and it was a good finish which snuck in at the bottom corner.  I thought the second goal was a foul by Naismith on Chris Burke who was trying to protect the outside of the wall. We have a day off then we’ll do three days training and then we get ready for the next game like we always do. 
"There’s no drama. I’ve told the players all our objectives are still in focus. Sometimes in the league you lose games. You lose a game tonight that we didn’t deserve to lose.  The game fell the way that Hearts had planned the game to go, so congratulations to Hearts but we move on to the next game no worries." - Match Recap -

Jan 26th on the Dons Post-Match: "It’s been a good week for us. We came here today hoping to win but it wasn’t to be so if you don’t win the only thing you can do is get a point. We managed to do that. It was a big win for us midweek so through to the next round of the cup and four points from two difficult games against two teams in the top four is a satisfying week. It’s another point towards our next objective, which is to secure a place in the top six before the league splits so if we can keep picking up points and a level of performance that we know is good enough to get us points then that’s what I will do."
On Kris Boyd's red card: "I haven’t seen any other angles of it, I’ve got the look I had from the bench. I’ve got good experience in the game was at the most it was a yellow card. It was a soft decision but until I see other angles then it is difficult to say too much."
"Defensively we were solid and lacked a little bit of energy going forward, which was maybe a consequence of the effort we put in midweek.  When I did try to change the forward players to give us a little more legs up front, Kris got sent off so that scuppered that part of the plan.  It was a tough game, not high quality and very scrappy, probably as a consequence of having to play three games in a week after a winter shutdown. It was a competitive game, it certainly wasn’t dirty. Two competitive teams, the referee saw what he saw and made the decisions he made so we’ve just got to run with that."   - Match Recap -

Jan 25th on the Dons Pre-Match:  "We can’t control expectation levels outside of our group or our club. Other people can have any expectation they want about us.  We know what we are capable of doing, we don’t shout about it from the rooftops. We go about our business in a quiet and diligent way and so far, that seems to work quite well for us. I don’t think you can be second in the league and under the radar but what you can always be is humble and respectful of the fact that every game we play is a difficult game and every opponent we face is a difficult opponent and that’s what we try to do."

Jan 23rd on the Rangers Post-Match:  "We played well with a good energy, I thought we showed good tactical discipline. We spoke a lot about how Rangers might play with the diamond shape and I thought we combated it quite well.  We started a little bit slowly and in a strange way the goal sort of settled us down a little bit and then we showed what we could do. It was a great steal from Eamonn Brophy to get the first goal, which gave us a lift and after that I thought we were decent.  I don’t know who writes the stars. I think Jordan showed tonight that he’s a big player for us. He’s got his move to Rangers, which is what he wanted and he can make a big contribution for us in the second half of the season. It’s nice to see him get a goal because he goes on that kind of run quite often but doesn’t always finish with a goal. It was good for Jordan. It tells you that he can handle big pressure so that’s a good thing for Jordan going forward."
On the Dons (A) Match: : "It’s all about game to game and we have a tough game on Saturday. We never get carried away here, we certainly haven’t since I came to the club. We work game to game and pick up as many points as we can and try and match that performance again on Saturday. We put in a hell of shift tonight so rest and recovery is very important."    - Match Recap -

Jan 21st 2019 on his Squad:  "I'm willing to run with what I've already got" if he is unable to bring players to the club in the final 10 days of the January transfer window. I have every faith in the players I have in the building,  We are always looking at the market. For us it is more difficult. We don't have thousands of pounds to throw at players, we don't buy players so I am looking at the loan market, the free transfer market. If I feel I can bring someone into help the squad, that's what I will do."

Jan 19th 2019 on the Forfar Post-Match: "Stuart Findlay scored a better one in training the other day, believe it or not, and we had a little laugh about it, so it was nice to see him stick it in the top corner. I thought we were reasonably comfortable in the game. Forfar came and had a go and credit to them." - Match Recap -

Jan 19th 2019 on Stewart's Dons Move: "It's not the player. It's the deal, But the deal is private and what happens when you speak with other clubs stays private. You can work it out. Look at the deal. I only want to talk about players who are committed to Kilmarnock and want to play for us," said Clarke.
If I am honest, the whole deal had a slightly strange smell right from the very start, but that happens in football. So we'll move on and I'll work with players who want to be here and, hopefully, they do just as well in the second half of the season."

Jan 16th on Jones (Post Signing his Rangers Pre-Contract): "if fans boo Jordan, then they're booing me as well because, if I select Jordan, then they're criticising my selection  If Jordan is fit and ready to go and I want to use him then that's what I will do. He is a Kilmarnock player, he has sorted his future out which is good for him. But I think he is a good player, an important player for my team so if I decide that he is going to start on Wednesday night then he is going to start. I have no worries about Jordan whatsoever."

July-Dec 2018 Comments are HERE

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